Number95

Members
  • Content count

    281
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

265 Excellent

7 Followers

About Number95

  • Rank
    Royal Pony

Recent Profile Visitors

4,005 profile views
  1. Hi

    1. Number95

      Number95

      Hello. Welcome to the forums.

    2. Shining Star

      Shining Star

      Thanks I joined on Thursday at 7:28 AM.

    3. Shining Star

      Shining Star

      wanna be friends?

  2. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    That doesn't sound confident about the episode being "not bad", but whatever. I would say that it's kind of hard to make an episode where Celestia is more prominent as those negative portrayals of her are even more prominent. The worst part is that the creative team doesn't know or doesn't think that there is a problem with her. More like a seemingly powerful position, and then they'll keep coming up with excuses to leave her behind. And you know what happened after resorting to that too often. It's like I said before, she's screwed no matter what happens. The show only made her look like an incompetent ruler. And if she did get to do something else, the show would probably just make her screw up anyways because it doesn't know what to do with her.
  3. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    If the crew hates Celestia, that's one thing. But if that really happens the case, I have to wonder why they ever bothered with her. I honestly doubt Hasbro pressured them into keeping her around. Another unfortunate case of stupidity from the show. And I remember Jim Miller making a statement like that somewhere, but I don't remember where. I wonder if they have even looked at their own creations because nothing about Princess Celestia in the show makes her comparable to a "Superman". Making that statement even dumber is that DC adaptations would try to make sure Superman isn't overpowered to prevent that problem. That's why it's even more of a shame that Princess Celestia as well as the other non-Twilight alicorns haven't been given any real focus or expansion. I get the feeling that the creative crew wants them to be mysterious, but dragging that for so long ends up making them look shallow or dull. And that problem is compounded when characters try to praise them when those alicorns haven't done anything to deserve that praise. Also, since those alicorns also didn't do anything, they instead looked useless and/or incompetent. I don't think there would've been room to explore Celestia's life, especially when considering the episode's own intentions. She may not be good at one thing, but she's able to make use of something else that's relevant enough. I'm not saying it worked perfectly, however. Of course, the show could try to explain itself if it's ever interested, but that's unlikely. I figure Twilight might have kept making the mistake of putting Princess Celestia on a pedestal, but there are problems with that idea already which I've talked about. Her bad acting didn't bother me, either. I was remarking that, at least from what I've seen in cartoons, that when an episode tries to show that a character is terrible at acting, the character (or voice actor, I suppose) gives an intentionally bad performance. For example, there was an episode of Darkwing Duck where Darkwing tries to act for a show or movie (I forget which), and he also gives a bad performance. I don't remember what episode that was, and I'm too lazy to look. That's pretty much the problem I have with the show's portrayal of her. And because of that, I keep wondering what she can do with the show not providing any answers. I've sort of talked about this when I rambled about "Shadow Play". What did you think of the episode? Personally, I don't think the show even did that well with her during the first 2 seasons.
  4. Number95

    How Long did Celestia and NMM fight?

    If only the episode could've implied that the stuff shown was the abridged version, but that's not what happened. One has to wonder how anyone could be aware of Nightmare Moon when she was barely around. I'm not against headcanon, but there should be a reason to watch the show, right?
  5. Yeah, I have to wonder if Luna was aware of literally every pony except herself being diurnal. Then again, Luna has been up during the daytime, but not for "royal duty" reasons. And she's also resuming her dream-walking job, I have to wonder what she did during nighttime before she became Nightmare Moon. Either the ponies were ungrateful about her dealing with their nightmares, or Luna happened to only see ponies that hate the nighttime. Then again, that stuff is "modern Luna" who is supposedly a clone according to OP. It's not like the show could really prove that idea because those alicorns don't get much attention in the first place. As in, I doubt the writers of the show have thought as much about Celestia and Luna as OP. Also, I doubt Princess Celestia is competent enough to manipulate others into being unwitting slaves.
  6. Number95

    Thrond's Review Thread

    You know what? I'm gonna say that the limitations come from the writers. If they couldn't talk about an idea that can work within the show's limits, then they shouldn't try because the result can and will look half-assed. No one (except themselves) forced them to do the stuff they couldn't handle. If the writers don't think the kids can handle the stuff that should have been shown, then that already speaks for itself. If the writers lack the ability to actually talk about an idea that is within the show's limits, well - that also speaks for itself.
  7. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Horse Play The first episode actually focused on Princess Celestia, a character that has been around since season 1 and also has some kind of a major (but vague) connection to Twilight Sparkle. A character who seems so mysterious and bigger (more in a figurative sense) than the average pony, and a character that the show likes to praise. It’s a shame that the show never followed through with the praise, and she instead ended up being a wasted character (and I hate wasted potential) who only chokes on shit and gets shoved into the background because the writers are too goddamn stupid to know what to do with or how to use her as all 2-parters have shown. She alone already raises a bunch of questions, but either nothing gets answered or the show unconsciously gives an awful answer. And if the writers had no intention of doing anything with her, why bring her up at all? Why tease about more interesting concepts in this universe if they don’t give a fuck about those concepts? Faust did work on the first 2 seasons, but I have no idea if she had any plans for Princess Celestia. And clearly the crew on the seasons after were even less interested in her, so why did those people keep her around? Only God knows. And it’s now – what? Season 8? 176 episodes into the show? Really? I don’t know how or why it took this long to do something with a character that is allegedly important and has been in the show from the start. And accordingly, the people working on this show have fucked up so bad with her that anything they try at this point wouldn’t work, but I’ll take what I can get. The episode starts with Twilight having already approached Celestia to celebrate the latter raising the sun for 1111 years. Spike was thankful for Pinkie reminding them, but a more interesting line came from Celestia’s response right after which suggested that she would have forgotten, too. I doubt Celestia is immortal, but a question of this nature can still be asked: What is time to an immortal? However, I doubt that’s something the writers have thought about. Twilight has written a play to showcase the first time Celestia has raised the sun, and Celestia is quite happy after hearing this. I know this is a way to show another side of Celestia that isn’t her usual professional one, but I’m surprised to see that Twilight was surprised. The show (and later in this episode) has said that they were close, so Twilight should have already seen those other sides of Celestia. Then again, it’s not like the show ever did anything with their relationship, so I don’t expect the writers to know what exactly they thought of each other or what they did together. Celestia reveals some history about herself. She had friends of unknown species, and I wonder if those friends were fellow alicorns. If so, well – I know the writers haven’t thought much about alicorns in general. If not, then that could raise some interesting questions about what it’s like for regular ponies to live and interact with a “natural” alicorn, but I know the writers also haven’t thought about this. This is yet another example of an interesting idea going to waste because – again – the writers don’t really know what they’re talking about. I know not everything can be utilized as there are more ideas than could ever be made into episodes, but that doesn’t excuse the show’s wastefulness. Her comments about theater creating a “magical experience” bringing out the “best in us” and forging a “special bond of friendship” are quite amusing. Good thing they don’t have Internet because they’d also find a lot of people bitching about entertainment. But at the same time, I do think there’s truth in Celestia’s statement as the Internet is also a place for people to discuss things they like. I wonder what the old times were like, then. And I there’s also some fun to be had making a work of fiction. Anyways, her childhood friends who may or may not be around anymore used to create plays for themselves, and Celestia wanted to be part of them but couldn’t because she had to hone her magical abilities. Too bad those magic lessons ended up being pointless. Still, the show is pretty damn clueless when it comes to non-Twilight alicorns, so I don’t imagine Celestia’s acting career (or whatever she chose for play production) turning out much better if she pursued it. Upon hearing this interest in being part of a play (not necessarily acting as Celestia never explicitly said that, but I’ll mostly refer to it as acting for slightly shorter sentences), Twilight asks Celestia to be the star of the play, with Spike and Celestia being surprised at this request. I wonder if a ruler could make time to be an actress, but being a ruler (at least in real life) is pretty demanding, so I guess not. Then again, she could’ve tried acting on the side when she was growing up because her lessons in magic and maybe ruling as well ended up being pointless. I mean, when did the show ever prove that she was an effective ruler? Then again, there’s the last sentence of the previous paragraph to consider. Twilight takes Spike to have a private conversation with him, and Spike objects to putting Celestia in the play because Celestia would normally the one giving out orders, and it would feel awkward to give orders to her. Even though Celestia may be a ruler, that doesn’t mean she has to control everything. It’s not like she’s a dictator. And she has been shown to be a reasonable pony, so she wouldn’t immediately turn down someone who asks her for something. Then again, I suppose he might forget about this considering that Celestia barely even exists in their lives let alone the show. Twilight tries to respond with reasons for doing something for Celestia, but they don’t actually work if you think about them. “She's also our friend.” Really? Considering how little they’ve interacted throughout 8 seasons, I wouldn’t know this. “Celestia's always kind to everypony. So if we have a chance to finally do something for her, we should.” Fine, I guess this one’s okay. “How many times has Celestia helped us? Guided us?” Not often. I can count the number of times she helped on one hand. The series premiere, “The Cutie Mark Chronicles” when Celestia calmed a Twilight with uncontrollable power, “Lesson Zero” when Celestia said that Twilight should send letters at her own pace (although the episode doesn’t really do much for both of them), and “Sweet and Elite” when Celestia helped Rarity get a room in Canterlot per Twilight’s request. That’s 5 episodes (counting the premiere as 2), and they’re all in the first 2 seasons. I wonder if there’s a correlation to Lauren having worked on the first two seasons, but that doesn’t matter. Twilight and friends are far more often doing something for Celestia while Celestia has barely done anything for them. Sure, Celestia raises the sun and makes Equestria a place worth living in, but any unselfish shithead in her position could and would do those same motherfucking things. And Twilight’s line suggests that wanting to help Celestia is a personal and genuine favor, not a generic and insincere act of gratitude. As for the “guiding”, never. Celestia never taught Twilight anything or helped her learn anything, and Celestia never did anything for Twilight. Well, she did make Twilight an alicorn, but nothing else came afterward, so there was still no guiding. “Been a warm, calming voice over our shoulder?” I can only think of one, and it’s just this one. I wouldn’t be surprised to see if there was more that I forgot about, but I don’t give a fuck. The point is that this is another futile attempt at praising someone who never did jack shit. Celestia points out that she has never acted before, but Twilight still insists because the students would appreciate Celestia’s appearance. Actually, the students did not give a crap about her appearance as the episode later showed, but whatever. I doubt the people working on the show have noticed. We then cut to the other characters setting up the stage. One interesting bit that stood out was Fluttershy already memorizing her lines. I wonder what her role originally was. Imagine if that role was Celestia, but Fluttershy’s reaction much later in the episode doesn’t not suggest as such. I remembered her having stage fright in “Hearth’s Warming Eve” and “Filli Vanilli”, and it looks like she’s still not quite over it as the episode later shows. Twilight shows up and presents the small but major update on the production of play. Everyone except AJ takes this as big news, though AJ was initially surprised when Twilight first presented this news. Rarity wants to get better material for the costume (funny how Rarity didn’t think to do this when Princess Twilight was doing the play, so Celestia continues to be hailed for some unknown reason, but I’ll talk more about this shortly later), Pinkie wants to bring in a bigger party cannon (I doubt one was ever going to be fired in the play), and RD decides to spread this news as far as possible (even making a rainboom as she took off). AJ wonders why everyone else seems to be overreacting as they have met Princess Celestia a number of times over the show (though I’m not sure about Starlight since Celestia was still barely present when Starlight was made to be a new character, but there is “A Royal Problem” where Starlight saw the alicorn sisters up close, so whatever). But Starlight points out that they met Princess Celestia in more formal settings. Last time I checked, Starlight didn’t meet the other princesses that often at all outside of “A Royal Problem” (though I suppose that could be formal for Starlight since she was not there for an average sleepover), but she did point out galas (that she hasn’t participated in as far as I checked) and world saving (there was the end of season 7, so I could count that). As for the others during the first 5 seasons, I could try evaluating how her appearances came off, but I’m too lazy. Though I’m pretty sure none of the Mane 6 ever met her in more casual settings (remember that the show has done almost nothing with Twilight and Celestia’s relationship, so why would there be anything else between Celestia and one of the Mane 6?), so I’ll take Starlight’s words for it. But what I really wanted to talk about was that the episode tried to say the characters were overreacting simply because a princess was showing up, with Twilight responding that she’s a princess they always hang out with. But Starlight points out that Twilight isn’t a “princess” princess. It’s another stupid ass attempt at trying to make Princess Celestia look impressive by downplaying Twilight. I have to ask again: What exactly has Princess Celestia done to be an imposing royal? Sure there’s her physical appearance, but does that really work when she hasn’t done anything to augment that appearance? Twilight may not rule Equestria, give out commands, or even look as impressive, but she has proven herself to be far more helpful and useful than her competitors. Even if ruling Equestria is demanding, I still don’t know how Celestia approaches her work (“A Royal Problem” didn't give any insight). And that still doesn’t excuse the fact that Princess Celestia has contributed nothing to the show, especially against threats to Equestria. Maybe she doesn’t have a lot of raw power or some other lame bullshit excuse, but she should at least have some knowledge of how to keep her country safe (which has hardly been the case as I can only think of one, which was Discord). Isn’t that also supposed to be one of her main tasks? It’s only about 5 minutes into the episode, and I can’t find much that I actually liked mainly because the stuff that I should like have no weight. Time to rehearse the play, and Twilight is apparently very proud of being the main contributor. Then again, would anyone (maybe except Starlight) know much about the history of Equestria? The Mane 6 did the play for “Hearth’s Warming Eve”, but that didn’t show the same events. Anyways, according to the play in this episode, it took a team of unicorns including Star Swirl to raise the sun (and maybe the moon as well, but the episode didn’t explicitly say so), but the other unicorns would lose their magic after doing so. This sounds like content from The Journal of the Two Sisters publication, so it looks like some of its content will be canon like the stuff about raising the sun, and other bits won’t be like Star Swirl being the one responsible for creating the Tree of harmony in the show when the book said he discovered it. However, what comes next is a tad muddy. Celestia could raise the sun without harm to herself, like the book said. But the episode called her a student. It’s worth noting that while she was learning with and under Star Swirl in the book, Celestia was already crowned princess before learning about this ability. What the episode gives away doesn’t necessarily contradict the book, but I’m wondering if the creative team behind the episode knew whether Celestia was a princess already or not before raising the sun. On a side note, I wonder how the sun and moon were moved before unicorns came along. Princess Celestia finally shows up to play her part, and it turns out she isn’t much of an actress. It’s always weird that bad acting in fiction is always portrayed with deliveries that can only be intentionally bad because there’s no way a person who’s trying to act would resort to the delivery shown. I guess trying to imitate legitimately bad acting might be a bit tough. AJ tries to use her element but is stopped by Twilight. I’d comment on this, but later as this problem only just got started. Next is a dance number, which ended up not appearing during the actual performance. I guess the play was that badly ruined. Celestia is now not in sync with the other performers. I would say it’s her body size, but the students are different species and already have different body sizes. I could also say it’s because they’ve practiced before and Celestia only suddenly stepped in, but the episode made it sound like they needed Celestia’s approval first to actually produce the play, so they most likely just started rehearsing as I don’t know why they’d rehearse at all if they weren’t sure whether they were allowed to do the play or not. Actually, I’m not even sure what purpose the dance number originally served in Twilight’s play. Celestia’s line suggests that they’re celebrating the discovery of her power, but I thought a celebration even on stage would look a bit different from that. As in a festival, not just a dance. Part of the dance requires Celestia to throw Star Swirl’s hat off, but the hat hits the switch that opens the trapdoor that all of the students were conveniently on top of. Hell, the trapdoor was just wide enough for all of the students in a line to fit in. And either the hat is very heavy, or the switch is loose. It’s more likely the former because if the switch was loose, it immediately drop after being hit, but then there’s cartoon physics not unlike what you’d see in a Looney Tunes short. So, the answer is, who knows? And the incident was also an accident, which means the hat could’ve gone anywhere else but conveniently hit a lever to create another problem, which is the students dropping onto and breaking the prop for the sun. AJ points out that the “lead actress is a disaster,” but I doubt being a bad actress would have been enough to cause the second event. Twilight finally acknowledges that Celestia isn’t much of an actress and weighs her options: drop Celestia out of the play and risk hurting her feelings while Twilight comes out looking like a “bad” friend, or keep Celestia around but then get humiliated which Twilight acknowledges will make herself a “worse” friend. I think it’s pretty obvious what the better option is when putting it that way, and just about any piece of fiction or generic advice would say that the truth hurts, or it’s better to be honest about something being bad than to lie that something is good because the lie would be an additional problem. Spike suggests canceling the play because the play hasn’t been made public yet, which is met with approval from everyone else. Were they going to tell Celestia that the play was canceled? Otherwise, she’d wonder why they’d keep practicing if they weren’t going to perform it in front of an audience. I also thought there’d be some annoyance about their initial input being made pointless due to the cancelation. However, RD just happens to come back and say that news of the play has gone pretty far. Twilight tries to think of another option, but AJ tries the honesty advice again. Twilight’s reason for keeping Celestia in the play is that she wants to help Celestia accomplish her dream of being part of a play. There’s also an exchange about honesty being important in friendship, but Twilight also says that helping someone else with their dream is also important. All that doesn’t sound bad on paper, but there’s a much bigger issue I have with Twilight’s reason, but I’ll get back to that later as this point in the episode isn’t the best time for it. Twilight instead tries to give Celestia acting lessons, and the latter says an… interesting line. “This is what I always knew theater must be about – that special stage pony bond of shared trust and honesty.” I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean other than forcing Twilight and Spike to feel uncomfortable. Method Mare actors On Stage and Raspberry Beret are introduced. Apparently, they appeared in the season 5 episode “Made in Manehattan”, and I honestly don’t remember that. They probably didn’t do anything of interest if I couldn’t recall them at all. Where did they even come from, by the way? Were they involved in the play from the beginning? If not, how did Twilight get them to the school so quickly? Anyways, they try improvisation by being mimes, which is an interesting way of showing off 2 talents in one moment. But Celestia isn’t catching on for some reason. So, she doesn’t know the meaning of the word, “improvisation”? She may have asked, “What box?”, but why did she not ask if this was part of the lesson? Why did the actors not explain themselves? Back on the stage, the Mane 6 conclude that their sun prop is no longer usable, so Pinkie tries a yellow balloon, which immediately pops after coming into contact with a… pointy rock. I feel like calling it a stalactite, but they’re not in a cave, so I don’t know the proper term for this kind of rock at their location. That rock didn’t even look pointy enough to puncture the balloon, and it’s not like the balloon was pushed against the rock. But it was kinda funny, so why not? Amusingly, the deflated balloon even flew into the trapdoor. Now it’s back to Celestia’s lessons, and this time they’re on visualization. She still isn’t catching on. Why don’t those actors say that they’re pretending or using their imagination? On that note, I don’t know why Celestia is so literal about this when acting especially on stage has always been about pretending or using imagination. I know this is supposed to be a further display of Celestia’s inability to act, but the actors can also come off as lousy acting teachers for not actually trying to teach. Pinkie Pie tries again with the stage prop, this time using a burning marshmallow, but that of course fails because the episode must go on. How did she even set it on fire? Twilight goes back to Celestia’s lessons again, and she didn’t teleport herself this time. She was apparently that irritated with Pinkie’s demonstration. Celestia is trying charades, and she’s also trying to express her love for Equestria. Like the other characters, I couldn’t tell that what she was doing, but I wouldn’t know how to express something like that with only my physical body and facial expressions. She should’ve settled for something simpler. Spike even called charades the simplest acting exercise. Is that true? I still think that they could’ve tried pretending and using imagination, but then again, I’m not an actor. I do wonder what the actors were thinking as they saw Celestia like they did. That this (allegedly) big royal is a terrible actress. The show rarely gets into how regular ponies see the royals, but as much as I would like to ramble about this idea, I’m not in the mood. It’s time for the play to start, but how much time has passed since Twilight invited Princess Celestia over? The episode makes it seems like it’s the same day but at night. So were they going to rehearse only for one day? I know this is fiction, but I don’t know how they could only work with one day of rehearsal much less production. Then again, one episode wouldn’t be enough to show multiple days of rehearsal, so whatever. RD said that “every pony” was going to see it. Obviously, this won’t be literal due to limited space, but the turnout hardly seemed like an impressive portion of Equestria like RD claimed or hoped. Luna even shows her face among the audience. I wonder how she feels about the raising of the moon not being celebrated. I mean, I’d like to think that Celestia and Luna founded their abilities around the same time because I don't know why Luna would make her discovery far later than Celestia made hers. So why aren’t both of the sisters celebrated? Luna probably didn’t mind as that’s how she became Nightmare Moon, but I know the real answer is that the writers haven’t thought about this as past results have shown that they don’t know what to do with a non-Twilight alicorn. Whether moving the moon around drains magic or not is unknown, and I would assume so, but there’s my previous sentence. Did the creative team know about the publication The Journal of the Two Sisters, or did they just happen to imagine the some of the same things as AKR? In the backstage, Twilight panics about the play having to go through even though Celestia has proven to be hopeless at acting. Twilight even mentions that she completely rewrote the script to give Celestia no lines. Why would Twilight bring up all this at the last minute? In a real play, the actors and actresses would be notified about any changes and then rehearse with those changes, and the playwright wouldn’t say that they rewrote the script during opening night. They’d push back the date of opening night if they weren’t prepared. And like I said earlier, production and rehearsal wouldn’t happen only in a single day. But the episode needed problems to pile up, so whatever again. Pinkie reveals that she bought fireworks as the prop for the sun, which only mysteriously lights up when she pulls the lever. I doubt the lever would light up the fireworks, so that means they were already lit before being revealed. Or Pinkie lit them right before revealing them, or she bought already lit fireworks. She even admits that she didn’t test them, which of course means that they’re going to explode and burn their surroundings. I’ll admit that I was amused at Trixie’s minor cameo. With so much going wrong especially right before the start of the play, Twilight has an outburst about the disastrous production and especially Celestia being an awful actress. And of course, Celestia happens to be close enough to hear it, though Twilight’s volume probably would’ve been enough. Twilight tries to apologize for her outburst, but that of course doesn’t work as well. Celestia is unsurprisingly upset about what she heard, but not as unsurprising is that she is upset about Twilight not being honest from the start. “I'm upset because, in all the time we've known each other, -“ Yeah, right. “I thought I taught you about the importance of friendship, trust, and honesty!” Princess Celestia didn’t teach her. Hell, Celestia never taught anything to Twilight onscreen. Twilight did learn about those virtues and give letters to Celestia when she started living in Ponyville with her new friends, but that’s not the same as Celestia personally teaching her those virtues. Celestia then leaves for some reason. I guess there had to be a reason for a private scene with just her and Twilight. Meanwhile, the others try to stall the audience. Actually, it’s just Spike. I’m not too sure how he’s the ideal candidate for stalling, but why not. Now for the most important scene in the episode, and also the scene that stood out to me the most: the private conversation between Twilight and Celestia in the clouds. The second time in the show (“Lesson Zero” all the way back in season 2 having the first) the two were more personal with each other. It should have been meaningful and impactful just based on the premise of the episode, the emotions from Twilight, and the alleged relationship between Twilight and Princess Celestia, but it didn’t pan out because this episode doesn’t have a foundation. Like I said about “Celestial Advice”, this episode was trying to build on a relationship that never existed, and thus much of the exchange becomes nonsensical and even arbitrary. So the scene stood out all right, but not in the way it should have. *sigh* Time to continue my recap. Twilight flies into the clouds to catch up and apologize again to Princess Celestia. However, the latter is still kinda steamed at Twilight’s dishonesty, so Twilight (tries to) pour out her heart to Celestia. “You've guided me since I was a filly.” So? That might have been true a long time ago, but the idea at this point no longer matters nor does the idea have any meaning. As I have said, Celestia has done nothing for Twilight in the show. “You've given me knowledge and advice and friendship.” You know what I'm gonna say next. “Just once, I wanted to be able to give something back to you.” *sigh* Again, “I know what I did was wrong. I should've told you the truth. But I promised you could be in our play. I had to make it work. Nothing would make me feel worse than knowing I disappointed you.” “I look up to you more than any pony I've ever met! I hate to let you down. Like I did.” At some parts of this review, I said that I had some problems with Twilight’s reason for lying to Princess Celestia, and now I’ll explain myself further. Twilight wanted to help Celestia be an actress as Celestia has expressed some interest in acting. That idea by itself is not bad even though Twilight’s repayment reason is bullshit, but it’s ultimately shallow with AJ’s suggestion (and Celestia’s later note) for honesty not helping Twilight’s case. Wanting to help Celestia be an actress is one thing, but the episode makes it clear that she’s a terrible actress and has no chance of improving, so I don’t know what Twilight was hoping for even though she’s fully aware of those crippling and irreversible flaws. In short, Twilight doesn’t have much of a defense for choosing to tell a lie instead of the truth. Here’s something that might make the episode more interesting. What if Twilight lied to Celestia because her fear of doing something she perceives as unthinkable (i.e. saying something negative about her idol to her face) overshadowed her desire to the truth? In this case, Twilight actually does know that telling the truth is the better option, but now there’s something stopping her from taking what she knows is the better option. Twilight has placed Celestia on a pedestal, but the pedestal has been broken in some way, which is Twilight learning about something Celestia is not good at. Would Twilight be in denial? Would she be afraid of the seemingly perfect image being tainted not just for herself but for others? Is she afraid of the image being further tainted as she can’t imagine Celestia being bad at even more things? The episode could’ve talked about the idea of placing someone on too high of a pedestal. Of course, there are some problems with the episode trying that idea. Princess Celestia stopped looking like a capable and mysterious royal starting at season 4 with “Twilight’s Kingdom” where she was forced to be a stupid motherfucker just so Twilight can take all of the action for herself. So, I wouldn’t know why Twilight would keep putting a stupid motherfucker on a pedestal unless a reason was given, but it’s not like a reason would ever be given because the show hasn’t noticed its consistently deplorable treatment toward Princess Celestia. This points to another complaint I’ve made about the show’s portrayal of the alicorn, which is that the show is always saying what she can’t do while not showing what she could do. At least this episode was kind enough to do the latter a little later in the episode, but even that doesn’t work as well as it should. Also not helping is the lack of a relationship between Twilight and Princess Celestia, a problem I haven’t been subtle about. Since Celestia hasn’t done anything impressive or anything at all for Twilight, I also don’t even understand let alone know why Twilight would look up to Celestia or be so desperate to do something for her. So the reconciliation between the two doesn’t have much of an impact because there’s nothing between them. But they still want to continue with the play, and Celestia suggests that she might know how to pick things up. Back to the stage, and Spike calls this whole endeavor a disaster. But Celestia steps in and says she knows how to deal with a disaster. If previous episodes are anything to go by, that’s also bullshit. But at least she’s given this one (but not enough) chance to take charge. She gives out commands to other ponies as she takes over production for the time being, and this would’ve worked much better if she also had more of a relationship with the other ponies. For example, why did she think that Fluttershy should play her? Fluttershy did play Celestia in the season 4 episode “Testing Testing 1, 2, 3”, but I doubt Celestia herself knew that. This scene was meant to be a display of Celestia’s leadership skills, but it comes off more as being lucky that things worked out instead of her knowing what she was doing. To be fair, RD would be the best one to get clouds, and she did help Fluttershy work with being the lead actress, but those are not good enough. I mean, wouldn’t a good leader know a thing or two about the people they lead? That definitely doesn’t apply to Celestia. And this display of competence is too small and short to be substantial, and even though I did say I’ll take what I can get, it still won’t be enough. More on that later. Anyways, Fluttershy isn’t too thrilled about being the new lead actress, but Celestia tells Fluttershy to visualize being a royal. As one can already see, Celestia is applying what the Method Mares tried to teach her. A typical move as that would be a detail that a story wouldn’t want to discard (otherwise, the scenes with Celestia learning and failing to act would become long fillers), but at least this move does a little better at displaying Celestia’s helpfulness (calling this “leadership” would be too generous) than her previous scene of assigning tasks to the other characters. The play finally starts, and the students show up to the stage with their costumes looking disheveled somehow. Did that happen because of the stuff with the fireworks? Their less than ideal appearance is met with laughter from the audience, which makes Spike the narrator nervous. Celestia tells him to improvise, and his solution is to be a smart ass about the dishevelment. I know the episode wanted to make use of the improvisation that Celestia was told about, but the execution is weird, and I’m having a hard time saying why I feel that way. I’m guessing it’s that one of the ponies the crowd verbally mocked the students for their looks, which is one thing. But it would make more sense for the comment to be more along the lines of, “Why do the costumes look so lame?” instead of the given, “You call those great sorcerers?” On with the play, lead actress Fluttershy finally appears to try and “raise the sun” as per her role, but Twilight realizes that there’s no prop for the sun. I don’t know why Celestia suggested to play charades because all Fluttershy did next was gesture, which I’m pretty sure Fluttershy could have figured out if she didn’t become nervous as a result of suddenly realizing that there’s no sun on stage and if she knew another “prop” for the sun would be used. This bit comes off more as improvisation since Celestia’s expression after Twilight panicked suggested that she came up with the idea to raise the actual sun on the spot. And she does just that. It’s worth pointing out that Luna, who is among the audience and doesn’t speak at all in the episode, was annoyed about her sister raising the sun during the nighttime. I’m honestly not sure why Luna would be annoyed because I doubt the concept of day and night belongs to either of the sisters. I also doubt the sisters own the sun and moon, and even if they did, the reason nighttime exists is not because of the moon (though human culture for some reason associate nighttime with the moon; I’m guessing it’s because of its greater visibility at night, but the moon can still be visible during the daytime. Then again, I don’t study human cultures). The existence of nighttime can arguably be more attributed to the existence of the sun. Without the sun, ignoring obvious effects on life, the Earth would always be in eternal night. And since daytime wouldn’t exist, there would be no reason to have a classification for day and night since the Earth only experiences one of these phenomena at all times and never the other. If only the moon never existed, also ignoring the effects of the moon on the Earth, day and night would still exist. So if anything, the existence of day and night should be accredited to just Princess Celestia. On that note, since Nightmare Moon wanted eternal night, I don’t know how’d she would pull it off unless it was only for Equestria. As long as the sun exists and the Earth is close enough, it will still be daytime somewhere on the Earth, and I don’t know what she would do about that. Maybe she would just block the sun. So it looks like there could be more to Luna’s resentment that was stated at the very first episode of the show, but I know it won’t get examined. What’s also weird is that while Celestia was raising the sun during the night, the sky still kept its nightly look even though it shouldn’t. Since the sun is simply rising in the sky, it should instead look like dawn. But I’m going off on a tangent. The play turns out to be a success, and that must’ve been one short play. Maybe the destroyed set cut down the running time. Or more of the play was not shown on-screen. It also didn’t look like any pony paid an entry fee, so at least they didn’t get ripped off in terms of price. Celestia points out that she never actually needed to be an actress when working on a play, which I pointed out at the beginning as I noted that she never explicitly said she wanted to be an actress. She simply wanted to be able to work on the play at all, which is what she wanted all along and go, and so she’s satisfied. Good on her, but not good enough for me. She wanted to “share an honest bond of creativity, artistry, and happiness with [her] friends.” However, so little screentime was dedicated to her actually working on and fixing up the play, and she also doesn’t have much of a bond with the Mane 6 including Twilight (remember that Celestia also barely interacts with the Mane 6 in this episode), so her line makes little sense. Though I suppose everything being last minute kinda explains the former, but the point is that the line doesn’t have as much meaning as it should. It should’ve been worded differently. So she may not be much of an actress, but she can apply what she (tried to) learn to help others. I wonder if this might mean she’s a better director than actor. She’s already a terrible actress, so it wouldn’t be hard to find something else she’s better at. On the other hand, directing requires some imagination and visualization, and I have no idea if she can actually do either of those. The episode ends with Celestia fooling the others into thinking she’d rather pursue theater production than being a royal, so apparently she can be good at pretending when not on stage. Knowing the nature of the show, she’d get screwed over if she actually did choose theater, and the reason wouldn’t be because she’s meant to be a royal. So that’s the episode. Did I like it? Well, that’s kinda hard to say. I guess I can say I liked parts of it or some of the ideas. Did I enjoy it? That’s also hard to say. Based on my recap, my tone came off as more sarcastic or even negative than genuinely positive, and that’s not far from how I felt when watching a second time. I did like and enjoy the episode during my first viewing, but that’s because I liked Celestia and was pretty glad she got a somewhat solo episode. But the novelty has worn off. I know I didn’t think it was great even when I first saw it, and I already gave my reasons over the review. To reiterate, this episode was building on something that is stupid or doesn’t exist. The characters are surprised or aren’t receptive to Celestia’s awful acting abilities, and the episode was trying to make the idea of Celestia being bad at something to be incredible. After all, the episode spent almost all of her time continuously trying and failing to act. But when did she ever prove herself to be competent at any point in the show? Before this episode, never. And even what was given here is too little because she only gets to start fixing the play about 4 minutes before the episode ends, so there isn’t much room to actually show what she is actually capable of. Why did she think Spike should be the one to narrate? Why not give that task to Pinkie (she likes to talk, her positive nature can raise the spirit of the play), Rarity (she’s an artist and thus creative, so she can give some life to a worn down production), or Twilight (she’s passionate about learning and spreading knowledge, she is the main creative force behind the play, and she wrote the script which also includes the narration)? Why should Fluttershy have been the lead actress? Why not give it to a unicorn, another pegasus, or even Twilight who is also an alicorn? I don’t know how Princess Celestia thinks, so the fixes she provided feel accordingly small and even lucky. Any of the Mane 6 could’ve made the suggestions she did without the episode looking weird. Of course, it wouldn’t come as easily to them because they aren’t as much of a(n alleged) leader as Princess Celestia. But the fixes again ended up being minor (and I don’t mean subtle) displays of her ability because she never did anything worthy of her title (including in this episode), which points back to my sentence about her fix starting too late. So she helped throw together a play at the last minute. But based on my interpretation of her efforts, did that really support the idea that she's capable and competent? Not helping is that the episode still needed the play to happen, which means less time for her ideas and further diminishing her portrayal as something of a leader. As in, we don’t actually get to see much of her being capable of damage control or just a leader who knows how to make what she wants happen because those scenes go by so quickly and also because more time was spent on her being a screw-up. There’s also hints of a relationship and Twilight’s perspective of her, but I have kept saying that those ideas never got off the ground at any point in the show. For example, I don’t even know what Celestia thinks of Twilight outside of her being a good pony. And I can say the same for what Twilight thinks of Celestia. Well, she looks up to Celestia, but I don’t know why, and Celestia’s incompetence over the show doesn’t give much of a reason for Twilight’s admiration to exist. Again, this is why the cloud scene has no meaning. I said I would take what I can get, but this episode at the same time proves that it's too late for any fixes. The episode might have been better if the show was better at handling Princess Celestia. But if the show was better at this, then this episode wouldn’t have happened, or at least an episode like this would have happened earlier in the show where Twilight might have learned to stop putting Celestia on a pedestal. And if an episode like this would have happened at an earlier point, it also would’ve turned out differently (e.g. no Starlight or students). Context matters, and without previous episodes to augment its own ideas, its attempts at a positive portrayal of Princess Celestia fail. Even her screw-ups don’t give much of an insight into her. She isn’t good at pretending or using her own imagination. So? Despite my rather negative feelings, I don’t hate the episode. Or at least I don’t hate it as much as I hated “Celestial Advice”. I’m just saying that the situation around this alicorn shouldn't have gotten so bad. If the show didn’t fuck up so often, I’m pretty sure I would’ve liked an episode like this. As for the students, they didn’t do anything in the episode, which is fine by me as I don’t give a shit about them.
  8. Number95

    Thrond's Review Thread

    If the story still wouldn't talk about Luna or her problems, then the 22 extra minutes wouldn't help. The lack of info about the most important aspects of the episode are its worst flaws. Because of that lack of info, I don't even know why Luna's guilt and self-punishment were so bad despite some amount of obviousness. I wonder if the limitations actually come from the writers' abilities instead of the show. Personally, I can't think of anything that this episode got right.
  9. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    My Little Pony: The Movie Well, I didn’t hate it. Everything balanced each other out into being somewhat OK, but don’t misinterpret this because there were parts that I hated. I already wasn’t expecting much just based on the premise because the show isn’t exactly good at telling stories that involve saving Equestria (despite having at least 11 shots as of now). I even hoped for the movie to turn out worse than “The Cutie Re-Mark” (my least favorite 2-part episode) just to see how stupid the creators can get, and I don’t know whether to feel disappointed or not about that hope being unfulfilled, but that’s neither here nor there. I already said that I wasn’t expecting much based on the premise, and not helping is that plenty of new characters were to be introduced. The movie already has a minimum of 6 characters to make use of so none of them would feel out of place, something that the 2-part episodes already struggle with. It’s true that the movie will have more time, but all that extra time won’t help with too many new characters, and it ultimately didn’t. And since there’s going to be some kind of “threat” to Equestria, the non-Twilight alicorns will no doubt be pulled in since they’re allegedly powerful authority figures. Of course, the show has already set a precedent with those alicorns by setting them aside at the respective episode’s earliest convenience. So even though I would’ve liked to see those allegedly important alicorns be as important as their titles implied, they were always going to be useless and inconsequential just like in the show because being useful would look out of place for them. All this means is that more (or the same) characters are stupidly wasted for the sake of Twilight, a storytelling element that I initially was a bit irritated with but now hate. I’ve already talked a bit about the characters, so I might as well go on from there. The usage of its characters is the movie’s biggest weakness, and this is easily seen when 2 of the Mane 6 (Fluttershy and Applejack) have little to no presence in the movie. Fluttershy at least got a memorable and funny scene when the characters stormed an invaded Canterlot, and she counseled one of Storm King’s minions, but a single scene isn’t good enough in a full-length movie. So it looks like AJ gets the award for being the most inconsequential main character because I can’t think of anything important she did. I remember her mentioning cider at the beginning, but that’s just a referencing one of her jobs. She also tried to remind the others about the importance of their mission at least once, but those lines could’ve been given to any other character like Twilight without affecting the overall product. I’m not saying that all of the main characters needed an arc, but more there are a number of characters old and new who noticeably lacked presence in the movie. Oh yeah, Spike got to tag along with the Mane 6, so I might as well talk about him. He got slightly more than Fluttershy and AJ, but that’s not saying much. The most he did was keeping Twilight company after her friends split from the group. It’s worth mentioning that he burned down at least some of the Storm King’s minions (including one right before Twilight was taken). I didn’t know his fire breath was that potent, but whatever. He, AJ, and Fluttershy did get some funny scenes here and there, but I’m not interested in mentioning them unless they really stuck out to me. Ultimately, Spike didn’t get too much, but it could have been worse. Thankfully, the other main characters got a bit more to do. Rarity was the first to get a not-so-insignificant scene when she fixed Capper’s outfit after he brought the Mane 6 into his home. Too bad Capper planned something else, but Rarity’s efforts weren’t in vain, and I’ll talk more about that later. Her apparent image can come off as a lady who loves fashion and style, but it was nice to see her generosity pop up in this film. Or more accurately, gratitude from the bottom of her heart, but it’s effectively the same in this movie. She did give Capper a new set of clothes at the end to show her appreciation again for helping to take back Canterlot, so these two could potentially have an interesting relationship, assuming the show continues with it (and I watch it). Rainbow Dash got about the same as much to do as Rarity (i.e. adequate enough). She helped the pirates break away from the Storm King, but the execution is bit more iffy. I’ll talk more about that when I get to the pirates. She was still mostly her usual self such as being raring to go and even wanting to make a Rainboom at least twice in the movie. Making the Rainboom just like that when they were trying to avoid Tempest was probably the dumbest moment in the movie for me. Yeah, she was excited and happy about what she did for the pirates, but she wondered if Tempest saw the Rainboom after the fact. So she came off as needlessly stupid in that moment since there was a pretty big implication that she didn’t forget about Tempest while on the pirate ship. One rather interesting moment in the movie had RD believe that the pirates wouldn’t rat out the Mane 6 when Tempest showed up, so she was confident that her song got through to them (and it did). Like with Rarity and Capper, I don’t know if the actual show will do a bit more with RD and the pirates because there was a somewhat notable bond here too. Ultimately, RD and Rarity also don’t make huge impressions, but they at least still got to make contributions to the movie. Pinkie Pie surprisingly got to be pretty active in the movie. did her usual stuff at first such as being energetic, cheerful, and fun-loving. Though she did get some odd scenes such as being cheerful throughout their escape (grinning while running away, jumping on the rope connected to the pirate ship because she thought it’d be fun, and also finally being cheerful about just narrowly escaping; Pinkie is usually more focused than this in 2-part episodes) from Tempest in Klugetown (which was strangely not named in the movie, but whatever) and from the pirate ship, and she and quickly drew attention to the Mane 6 earlier in Klugetown when Twilight advised the others just before to not do that. She may have a generally upbeat disposition, but she isn’t mindless and all about having fun during serious times. There were times when she acted silly in some 2-part episodes like during Discord’s introduction in “The Return of Harmony”, her investigation in “The Crystal Empire”, and her investigation with the pillars in part 2 of “Shadow Play”, but all those were minor scenes that don’t negatively impact the story. Pinkie’s act in Klugetown got the Mane 6 into trouble, but it was obviously a way for them to meet a guest. The problem in here is that Pinkie is forced to act this way to move the story along. Pinkie being happy about the narrow escapes are also minor in the same manner as the examples I listed with the show’s 2-part episodes, but they still stick out for the wrong reasons which I mentioned earlier. But things picked up for her when the Mane 6 met the seaponies. Pinkie even bonded quite closely with Princess Skystar, who is similar to her in terms of personality. When the seaponies (or at least the queen) declined to help the ponies, Pinkie wanted to stay behind a bit longer to satisfy a saddened Skystar. This decision made more sense as Pinkie is one who doesn’t like seeing others unhappy and would much make them smile, and she still was interested in going back to save Equestria. But she got even more after the Mane 6 are banished from Seaquestria (which is also strangely not named in the movie). It turned out Twilight tried to steal from the seaponies while her friends were away singing, and Pinkie was understandably upset as she is sincere about making others happy and wouldn’t use this skill to take advantage of others. Well, actually Pinkie was hoping for help from the seaponies through song, but her main goal was to cheer up Skystar. What also helps the scene is that Pinkie is always for making new friends, and they were kicked because of Twilight’s deception, so there’s even more backing behind Pinkie’s reactions. Of course, Pinkie and Twilight reconciled toward the end (it’s not like they wouldn’t), but I did like that Pinkie also apologized because even though Twilight was wrong to steal the pearl, there are better ways the group could’ve handled the results such as not leaving Twilight or handling their emotions better. What’s interesting is that when Twilight seemingly disappears toward the end, the movie places special focus on Pinkie who even teared up for a moment. It’s another good bit of Pinkie’s feelings about Twilight. Overall, despite some objections, Pinkie fared well enough as she got to show different sides of herself and helped show the importance and power of friendship. And now to finally talk about Twilight. She is unsurprisingly the most important out of the Mane 6 in the movie as she is also the main character of this incarnation of MLP. I mean, what were the chances of the movie putting someone else at the center? But I digress. The movie tried to have her (re)learn the magic of friendship (she even spelled that out with the line, “Friendship didn't fail me. I failed friendship.”), which sounded fine on paper, but the execution was questionable. It went about this concept about as well as what “The Return of Harmony” tried, meaning that the trying to (re)learn the magic of friendship stuff was barely present. At least it was more present here compared to “The Return of Harmony”, but I digress again. I’ll be recapping some of the movie because I can’t think of a better way to express my thoughts without actually doing plenty of recapping. Twilight and friends (but mostly Twilight) went through a pretty bad experience in Klugetown because they initially thought Capper was trustworthy, but he intended to sell them. Also a decent touch was before meeting Capper, Twilight approached a merchant and tried to help him with a dropped item, and he immediately told her to scram. All of this was not a bad start because the atmosphere of and the sample of residents in Klugetown didn’t exactly give a friendly impression. After the Mane 6 escaped Klugetown and boarded the pirate ship, AJ suggested that they could ask to be flown to hippogriffs, but Twilight pointed out their previous experience. That was reasonable (and practical even when disregarding the Capper stuff) as they didn’t know these strangers and shouldn’t immediately trust them because that might lead to an experience similar to what happened shortly earlier. OK, so there were some seeds of whether trying to make friends (or at least putting trust in strangers) actually works, but the movie felt like it skipped a lot of steps starting at this point. The pirates inevitably discover the Mane 6, and Captain Celaeno decided to throw them off the ship (or walk the plank, although both wouldn’t work on 3 of the ponies) per Storm King’s rules. But a whistle conveniently blew for their only meal break for the day, and the pirates immediately attended to that. They were even courteous enough to bring the ponies and Spike along. The pirates revealed, at least through their tones, that they weren’t very thrilled about serving the Storm King. Twilight even tried requesting a transport to Mount Aris, but Captain Celaeno rejected because of the threat the Storm King posed. Twilight wasn’t too happy about the rejection, but one pirate even added after that it’s “nothing personal”. I’m guessing that this was trying to add to Twilight losing sight of her strength, but it was ultimately too rushed. Twilight didn’t even try anything else, so she gave up more quickly her than Celestia did during the Canterlot invasion. It hardly looked like the pirates couldn’t be reasoned with based on what’s given so far. If the pirates were unfriendly and murderous all along, they’d have tried to deal with the Mane 6 right from the beginning. Before meeting the pirates, they only met Capper, and that was just step 1 for Twilight. Now the movie just skipped all the way to the second last step. The pirates then revealed their roots to the Mane 6, which impressed Rainbow Dash. Since everyone on the ship also didn't like the Storm King, RD was able to convince the pirates to be pirates again with a song. I guess the Storm King only makes idle threats, and if it was that easy to break away from him, I also wonder why they didn’t do so sooner. RD even stupidly made a Rainboom from sheer excitement which, of course, attracted attention from Tempest. I guess they couldn’t think of a better reason for Tempest to eventually find the Mane 6. The Mane 6 hid below the deck, and Tempest stepped onboard while demanding Twilight to show up. Twilight wanted to escape because she didn’t trust the pirates while RD believed that the pirates wouldn’t relinquish the Mane 6 so easily after the song. Twilight then conjured an idea to escape, and her train of thought here was actually practical and even reasonable. First, the others weren’t going to do anything as Rarity, Fluttershy, and AJ were sitting anxiously. I have no idea what Pinkie was trying to do, but it hardly looked like helping. And RD was just hoping that the pirates won’t blow their cover, and that didn’t immediately improve their position. Of course, she was later proven to be right, but she as well as the rest of the Mane 6 didn’t actually know much about these people. And if the Mane 6 were exposed, then that would have been more evidence of RD hoping. Twilight came up with a plan that’s guaranteed to let them escape with their lives. Not helping is that she didn’t sing with everyone else to see that the pirates were friendly enough, and that happened because she was more focused on getting to the hippogriffs, and she was so focused on that because she quickly dismissed the pirates without a reason. So there’s a reasonable conclusion, but it was preceded with a very shaky setup. I’ll say right here that how the story gets to the destination is more important than the destination itself (i.e. execution > idea). So the Mane 6 escape the pirate ship, reach the base of Mount Aris, and climb to the top. Oh, and Tempest found the map Twilight left behind, which was pretty careless on Twilight’s part, but whatever. When the Mane 6 do reach the top of Mount Aris, they find the hippogriff kingdom to be long abandoned. Of course, things aren’t as they seem as the movie wouldn’t mention hippogriffs only to suddenly throw away the idea. There’s some humming from the distance, and it’s pretty convenient for Skystar to come to the surface of the pond right after the Mane 6 arrive . Or at the very least, it’s convenient for Skystar to start humming right after the Mane 6 arrive. Did she hum softly at first and then hum more loudly? Anyways, they encounter Princess Skystar, who quickly and seemingly disappears underwater without a trace. The Mane 6 head into the pond and find themselves sucked into – I’m guessing – a magical whirlpool. Who even made that? Skystar didn’t show any magical abilities, so is the pond magical? They’re all thrown underwater, and – surprise, surprise – none of them can breathe underwater (is there a single-word adjective or verb for this?) and thus almost drown. I’m guessing Twilight couldn’t do anything as she was too busy holding her breath, but I went with what happened next anyways because Twilight shouldn’t be doing all of the work. Seriously, what can the rest of her friends do without her in a situation that might require some intense magic? Moving on, they all get magical air bubbles covering their heads to help them breathe underwater. Where did this come from? I’d still guess Skystar, but she never showed any magical abilities in the movie like I said earlier. None of the other seaponies show that ability or any kind of magic outside of their pearl which Skystar wasn’t carrying (or maybe she has super speed underwater), so maybe the water itself is magical. I have no idea, whatever. What’s also weird is that Skystar initially fled from them because she thought they might have been dangerous, and then returned to them to (probably) ensure their safety. Must be a moral code against killing. Skystar takes them to Seaquestria, and it’s a pretty impressive-looking location. I wonder how the seaponies/hippogriffs managed to put it together, or if the toys based on this location look as good. Skystar introduces the Mane 6 to her mom, Queen Novo, and Novo seems to be pretty bored as she’s half-asleep and lying back on her “throne” with her head on one “arm”. Good thing her eyes were closed at first so she could be surprised at seeing the ponies instead of immediately seeing them and then scolding Skystar on the spot. Unsurprisingly, Queen Novo doesn’t want surface-dwellers in her underwater kingdom, but at least her reason isn’t some environmental one. Twilight asks about the hippogriffs, and Novo confirms to know about their fate but doesn’t say more. However, Skystar fills them in instead, and I actually like Novo’s deadpan lines in the background. It turns out that the hippogriffs have become seaponies thanks to a magical pearl. I wonder where they got that from, and if hippogriffs are magical in a similar manner to the ponies. The ponies have their own magical artifacts while still having unicorns casting spells, but that’s a question for another time. Like what the other princesses back in Canterlot did, the hippogriffs seemed to have immediately given up without a fight against the Storm King. Too bad they didn’t know how fragile his army actually was until much later. Also, I actually like that the seaponies turned out to be the hippogriffs. For one thing, the new characters were no doubt introduced to sell more toys, so instead of having to introduce and exposit 2 different species, the movie only needed to exposit one instead to save time and to keep things simple(r). And second, I find the ability to change between different species magically to be fascinating as that opens up various storytelling opportunities such as consequences of being able to transform as well as transforming to adapt to an entirely different location like underwater in this case. Too bad I won’t watch much of the show, if at all, to find out if that will happen. Queen Novo uses her pearl to transform each of the Mane 6 into another kind of seapony and Spike into a pufferfish. Twilight thinks the pearl’s ability will give them the edge they need to beat the Storm King, but Novo refuses because she is very protective of the pearl and doesn’t want to let it somehow end up with him. If the pearl was useful against the Storm King, Queen Novo probably would’ve tried it, or maybe she’s another royal who isn’t combative. She gets called away for a massage, and I have to wonder what this might imply since she’d much rather stay at home than team up with others to beat a common enemy. I’d say pretty lazy, but at least she’s willing to protect her home. However, the latter is only given verbally. She also doesn’t show up again until the end after Canterlot has already been saved, so her lazy image isn’t alleviated. Huh. Celestia and Novo being royals who do nothing to help. No wonder why they’re (alleged) friends. Even though that scene gives a pretty bad impression of her, there’s a much bigger problem with the movie. Celestia at the beginning asked Luna to contact the queen of the hippogriffs, implying that Celestia and Novo know each other. This is never brought up again, at least not until the end credits when they actually get to interact, and who knows if that scene was canon. If Twilight mentioned Princess Celestia being an ally or at least a foreign royal that Novo knows, then Novo would have to try harder to defend her position and is more likely to instead lend a hoof because she’d look even worse for abandoning an ally. Or if Novo refuses, a convincing reason (that is beyond the scope of the writers) should be provided. This is another example of the movie feeling rushed because it needed something so specific to happen that important details like this get glossed over. Hell, Twilight had literally no reason not to mention Princess Celestia. This flaw becomes even more egregious when you take a look at the conversation between Novo and Twilight. Queen Novo expressed sympathy at Twilight’s homeland being invaded, but there is no sense of Novo knowing that Equestria exists or knowing that the outsiders are ponies. You could take out the stuff about Novo and Celestia knowing each other (make the ponies non-equid or non-equine animals instead for good measure), and the scene could still play out the exact same way with the exact same exchange while still retaining the exact same meaning. Of course, since Novo arrived at Canterlot toward the end of the movie, she knew about Equestria, Canterlot, Celestia, and ponies. However, that still doesn't help the exchange and in a way even made Novo knowing these things look random when referencing that exchange. Anyways, Novo declines to help, and the Mane 6 feel dejected. But Skystar suggests that the ponies stick around Seaquestria, and I quite like what comes next from her. Skystar was shown to be excitable and cheerful not unlike Pinkie, but other sides of Skystar start to appear. She mentions a bunch of activities they could do together, which all involve shells. And she tops it off with her friends, “Shelly” and “Sheldon”. This already suggests boredom and dissatisfaction with her underwater life and can even offer a minor explanation as to why she was above water a little earlier. But above all, she’s also lonely, wants companionship, and feels trapped in her own home. She even emphasized earlier that the Mane 6 were the first guests they’ve had in a while and felt sad after learning that the Mane 6 couldn’t stick around. Her loneliness does seem a bit odd when there are other inhabitants in Seaquestria she could have interacted with (no explanation is given for this), but I’m willing to let this slide because Skystar’s dissatisfaction with her current life was conveyed convincingly through her deliveries. And maybe this is one of those things that is to be left to the viewer’s interpretation or imagination because too much explanations, especially if not related to the main story, can make a movie feel bloated. Maybe she couldn’t get a (close) friend because everyone she met was too uptight, or she couldn’t get along with them as well as she liked. And a relationship with one’s mom (who is a royal) or a royal worker (if they have any) works differently from a relationship with a (close) friend. Also, while Skystar was entertaining the idea of the Mane 6 staying at Seaquestria and talking about shells, everyone cringed except Pinkie who was enamored at Skystar’s interest and “friends”. It was obvious but appropriate for Pinkie and Skystar to be pretty fast friends. To no surprise, the Mane 6 also decline to stay because doing so won’t restore Equestria, and Skystar is saddened. Pinkie cares about the happiness of others and wants to cheer up Skystar before heading back, to which Twilight surprisingly agrees with (but it’s obvious what she was really planning). Twilight lets everyone else go, and her friends don’t wonder why she is staying behind nor did Twilight say what she was doing except vaguely talking about needing a plan. And Twilight’s friends also don’t wonder why they don’t get to hear what she is thinking, why they don’t get to pitch in, or if Twilight might need some help with planning. Last time I checked, Pinkie was the only one who was enamored with Skystar, so why did the rest of the Mane 6 decide join those two? Everyone else just goes with Twilight’s command without question, and it feels pretty forced for the reasons I mentioned. And so begins the song “One Small Thing”, which is basically saying that one small thing can be a big thing (or in a word, reciprocation). This sequence gets a bunch of other seaponies to sing along, and even Queen Novo joins the musical number toward the end of the song. And all this singing somehow gets Queen Novo to change her mind about not helping, which feels too fast in a similar manner to “Time to Be Awesome” quickly getting the pirates to ditch the Storm King. First, I’m not exactly sure what compelled Novo to change her mind. Sure Pinkie got the seaponies to sing, happily even, so Novo can guess that they’re trustworthy or at the very least nice. But she should already know that they’re ponies from Equestria since she already knows Princess Celestia, so what exactly was different about her views of ponies during the first meeting with Twilight and after the musical number? If Novo already thought at least a little positively of Celestia, I don’t know why she wouldn’t give the ponies a chance since she should know that most ponies (not all ponies are good) are trustworthy or at the very least nice. Like the meeting with Twilight not exactly clarifying that Novo is even aware of who or even what her visitors are, I really don’t know where she is coming from. And on a nitpicky note, if the magical pearl is so powerful and valuable, she should’ve put it under better protection. Sure Twilight was caught, but the fact that the pearl came out means that a team of thieves can steal it. Continuing on, Twilight unsuccessfully tries to steal the pearl, and Novo gets pissed off because she thinks the song sequence was set as a distraction so Twilight could do her thing, so the Mane 6 are transformed to their original selves and banished from Seaquestria. Worth noting is that Novo indirectly called the ponies “strangers” after scolding them and Skystar, and my comments in the previous already covered this. And now comes the big break up scene. When I first saw that scene, I felt nothing. I didn’t feel sad for the characters, shocked at what just happened, disgusted at Twilight’s words, or eager to see how the Mane 6 will inevitably get back together to save the day. The scene instead seemed so arbitrary and tacked on because the movie needed the main character to somehow lose hope, and they didn’t know a better way to do that. And this will be it for the recap as that was all I wanted to recap. I couldn’t figure out why I felt the way I did, and I have even read around for some opinions about this scene. It was not something wanted to do at first, but I eventually gave in because I wasn’t getting anywhere on my own. So here are some things I have found. The most common explanation is that Twilight was too desperate about saving Equestria, and that desperation plus rising stress over the situation not getting better as they went on led to her outburst. Again, all of this sounds fine on paper, but it’s the execution that matters. Twilight was apparently stressed about her friends not trying to help solve the situation. There are two problems I have with this explanation. First, why would her friends not be serious about the situation? They’ve almost seen the end of Equestria more than a few times, and they were never assuming that things will still work out if they goof off. And most of the goofing off came from Pinkie, and I’ve pointed out moments, but even she has been serious in 2-part episodes. Maybe there are minor moments such as Rarity hoping for a spa as they approached Klugetown, but stuff like that ended up as minor funny moments, and Rarity didn’t act on that desire when they actually stepped into the town. I suppose there’s Rainbow Dash and the other ponies singing with the pirates which ultimately culminates in a Rainboom that gives away their location, so that could count. But that’s just one instance. Maybe there’s Pinkie wanting to spend some time cheering up Skystar, but Pinkie was hardly disinterested in fixing things as she herself said. Of course, putting their main mission lower on her list of priorities is already saying something, but I’ll talk about that shortly later. Even if Twilight’s friends not being serious about the situation is for whatever reason true, there’s no explanation for why they weren’t being serious. Have their previous victories gotten to their heads? That sounds plausible, but that also hardly seems to be the case based on the way the movie played out, which means the idea of the filmmakers running with this idea is dubious. That would’ve been an interesting idea to play with, though. This just means that Twilight’s friends acted dumb just for the sake of her character arc. Even just taking the movie by itself, it still wouldn’t make sense for Twilight’s friends to not be serious about something like saving Equestria. And not helping again is that there is no explanation for this. There are also too few instances of not being serious unless the point is that Twilight blew things out of proportion, but that’s not hinted at either. Continuing from my point about Pinkie wanting to cheer up Skystar, If Twilight thought her friends weren’t being helpful, why couldn’t she have confronted to them about this? They’re close friends, they trust each other, and they’ve been through a number of 2-part episodes together (not to mention a bunch of other episodes inbetween), so there’s no reason not to try talking instead of hoping they will take a hint. If she didn’t try talking to them because she thought her friends weren’t being serious, well – that’s all the more reason she should have tried. It’s not like she tried repeatedly to get them (or at least Pinkie) on task and failed. What’s also weird is that even though the movie tried to test the power of friendship, friendship has rarely been the driving force behind a villain’s defeat. I know someone will say that they used the Elements of Harmony a few times to beat the villain, and the elements require friendship between the Mane 6. But if you really want to say that the Mane 6 used friendship to save the day, is simply being next to each other already enough to qualify? In that case, they are nothing more than ponies who know each other pretty well. Even though the season 1 premiere was sloppy, it did show friendship between the Mane 6 as they looked out for each other and also helped each other through a number of obstacles. Sure, friendship has also been relevant in the standalone, slice-of-life episodes, but the situations in those episodes are mundane and much smaller in scale, and thus too different. The approach to the slice-of-life problems would be different from the approach to a direct threat to Equestria This is why I compared the movie to a usual 2-part episode, and the movie likewise has bigger stakes with Equestria being in danger and a more fantastical feel especially with the villain(s) and the use/need of some powerful magic. So to add to the first sentence of this paragraph, some kind of use of friendship (much less making friends with others) has never been their first option when trying to save Equestria or when trying to deal with a powerful villain. There was ONE exception which was ironically in this movie. When Tempest first showed up to Canterlot, Twilight presented herself and hoped to talk things out. That might have been okay, but it’s too hard for me to ignore the 2-part episodes when this movie exists in the same continuity. Not helping the movie is that in most 2-part episodes, it’s the Mane 6’s friendship that lets them save the day, which is not the same thing as friendship between other ponies. Why is this distinction important? Remember that “The Cutie Re-Mark” attempted to show (with Twilight even saying) that all friendships were essential to Equestria, but what was shown didn’t support that idea at all because the ultimate fate of Equestria always hinged on the Mane 6’s friendship, so that undermines any exception this incarnation of MLP will attempt and whatever this movie tried to prove. Someone who might be reading this will no doubt wonder why I’m referencing the show’s 2-parters when they aren’t directly relevant to this movie. The movie itself is a standalone so it can mean something to viewers who haven’t seen the show but happen upon this, and I can accept that. But it’s still a tie-in to the show, and the filmmakers were definitely not disregarding the show when making the movie as they used familiar characters complete with their voice actors and the same settings, and various familiar characters (even fan-favorite background characters) have cameos. Even the season 8 premiere explicitly referenced the movie, which is definitive proof that the movie was meant to be connected to the show in some way. If the filmmakers didn’t want the movie to be in continuity with the show (which was still going on when the movie was released), then why not make a movie with a completely different set of characters in a different world? If the movie used the same characters and settings but blatantly contradicts important information that the show has established, would followers of the show be happy? I probably wouldn’t be unless I ultimately ended up quite liking the movie. As a result, the movie also can’t actually put her faith in friendship to the test because this idea doesn’t relate to anything the show has brought up. Even if this movie wasn’t trying to connect to something the show has brought up so it could better stand alone, the movie didn’t actually put friendship to the test like I recapped earlier. To repeat, the experience in Klugetown and with Capper are fine enough, but the experiences with the pirates and the seaponies are not because they are ultimately too rushed, and the results come off as random. Twilight didn’t even try anything with the pirates after being turned down for requesting transport to Mount Aris. When she reached Seaquestria, she finally found the hippogriffs she has been looking for after a long journey. And when she asked for some help, she immediately got rejected. She didn’t try anything with the seaponies, either. You might say that two experiences (one of which seemed anecdotal while the other was an impersonal rejection) plus her friends being seemingly unfocused were enough to drive her over the edge, but I’ve already given my thoughts on those elements. One of the points of Tempest (I’ll get to her later) was to question whether relying on others, especially friends, is an effective tactic. Given how the franchise (and real life) works, it’s no doubt going to confirm effectiveness. But that doesn’t mean they can’t make a story out of that idea. With no other options and Equestria not getting any better as they keep waiting, she resorts to stealing a powerful magical artifact. This is a reasonable conclusion for her to arrive at, but it’s also marred by another shaky setup. The movie shouldn’t even have jumped to Twilight immediately resort to stealing; it should have had her mention their origins and Princess Celestia indirectly sending them to the hippogriffs. Things would no doubt have happened very differently and even come with different meanings if that minor but important detail came into play. Thus, Twilight trying to steal the pearl and then shouting at her friends to show how much she has lost herself felt forced. And now for the new characters, starting with Tempest Shadow since I just talked about Twilight Sparkle and what the movie attempted with her. Tempest is first presented as cold, serious, soft-spoken, and always on the offensive. That might fine on paper if the movie could keep making her enjoyable to watch, but she gets a backstory a little after half of the movie has passed. And her backstory is unsurprisingly tragic so the viewer can feel for her. I will say that out of all the villains with a tragic backstory in this incarnation of MLP (others include Luna/Nightmare Moon, Starlight Glimmer, Stygian), Tempest has the best-told backstory, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. Hell, her competition is lacking. Luna’s backstory has almost never been utilized, so she essentially doesn’t have one. Starlight’s is so goddamn stupid because it raises too many major questions due to the explanation being so minimal. Stygian and Tempest are not bad at most, but that’s not good enough. I’ve already talked about Stygian in my “Shadow Play” ramble, but in summary: it’s sounds fine on paper, but it feels rushed and even incomplete due to some important questions being unanswered. Actually, I could also apply this comment to Tempest’s backstory. Tempest was even courteous enough to give her backstory through her stylized villain song, “Open Up Your Eyes”. She first viewed friendship positively as a filly, but of course she called her younger self and by extension that kind of viewpoint naive and foolish. She played happily with her friends. But one fateful day while she played ball with them, that ball went into a cave. Her friends were also unicorns but too afraid to go inside the cave (it’s worth noting that the cave had warning signs), and Tempest ended up as the only one who was willing to get the ball so they could have some fun again. As she tried to get the ball, she encountered an Ursa Minor that attacked and broke her horn as well as scarring her right eye. I don’t know how scratching an eye like that still left it functional. And I might be nitpicking, but that flashback made it look like Tempest tried to directly deal with the monster instead of running away when it showed up. She more got punished for making the wrong choice than the right one. Like I said, that complaint might be too petty, so I’ll just go with the movie’s intention, which is that Tempest was punished for making the right choice. Some amount of time passed, Tempest felt sad because she was left behind after taking some pretty bad injuries. She tried to use her horn again to pick up the ball her friends were playing with, but even that proved difficult as she instead casted unstable magic that burned the ball. Her friends were afraid of this display and subsequently ditched her. Tempest was initially saddened by this reaction but soon struck out on her own. Now comes some pretty important questions. First, did she have parents? The reason I ask is that her friends shouldn’t be the only ponies she was emotionally attached to if she had parents. I highly doubt her parents would be inconsequential figures in her life, but it’s not even clear if Tempest and/or the parents (or whatever family she might have) thought little of each other, or if Tempest was already an orphan. On the other hand, since the parents aren’t mentioned, the answer to their status wouldn’t matter, but that also makes Tempest’s starting position look random. I can buy that Tempest wouldn’t be that attached to some orphanage workers, but that would only work if I already knew that she was an orphan. If she did have parents who did care about her, what did they think of her situation? Because her childhood status was too muddy, the decisions she made after that Ursa Minor incident can look random. And I don’t like to say this, but her childhood experience seemed too anecdotal because this was just one (admittedly bad) experience, and her relationship with her friends not being clear also doesn’t help. What happened immediately after the incident? Yeah, her friends were shown to have feared her, but what about before that? What did they think of Tempest after she lost her horn like that? They didn’t try to comfort her? A unicorn losing her horn doesn’t seem like such an insignificant event. I’m guessing they were meant to be close friends as they were the only ones shown, and then their abandonment turned her life sour, which is fine on paper. But if those friends left her that quickly and easily, they end up looking like shitty friends instead, and then I wonder why she hung out with them in the first place. Yes, from her perspective, her best friends abandoned her, and anyone in her position would hardly be happy about this development. But for the sake of storytelling and trying to show how and why exactly Tempest came to the conclusions she did, deciding that friendship is a dumb idea because of shitty friends doesn’t convey her bitterness nearly as well. Adding to the weirdness is that Tempest would much rather forcefully take the magic from the alicorns when asking for their help was always an option. Somehow, her view of royal figures (or at least Princess Celestia since the other princesses were recent additions) even got tainted. It is a nice bit of irony that despite her philosophy of doing things on her own and not depending on others, she still depended on the Storm King to fix her horn because she couldn’t do that herself. And there’s also Storm King not actually fulfilling his promise to fix her horn was also in line with her philosophy because he was already clearly unreliable. But that leads to another problem. Not wanting to trust fellow ponies is one thing, but what made her think that the brutish-looking Storm King was more reliable? Even kids are told not to trust strangers, and she herself derided the Mane 6 for trusting Capper. I doubt the Storm King was someone she knew during childhood, so he was already a stranger she first met him. Not helping is that during their first conversation in the movie, the Storm King was clearly and completely clueless as to what he was getting himself into. He wanted power, but he didn’t know that he was holding a magic staff, and he didn’t even know the term “alicorn”. He clearly didn't know anything about ponykind, so how did Tempest think he would be a solution to a broken unicorn horn? If she was so desperate, why go to this guy first instead of an alicorn or some other pony that is proficient with magic? Why exactly did she find other ponies so worthless, and what did guys like Grubber or the Storm King have over them? I wouldn't say that the questions I asked about Tempest aren’t exactly unimportant ones. She gave up on the idea of friendship and by extension trust, but before she could decide that friendship (and/or trust) wasn’t worth it, there should also have been other important figures in her life because I don’t know why she’d quickly ditch them after learning she had some shitty friends. If there were no other important figures in her life, that should have been more explicit. And even though I thought it was a nice bit of irony that she ultimately had to rely on and trust another to (hopefully) get what she wanted (a comparison can be made to Twilight using her friends as distractions in Seaquestria, so she did rely on them, but not as friends), I still don’t know why she chose the Storm King before her fellow ponies. Having some irony doesn't make a story smarter, and her history felt so abridged that I’m left with too many questions. If I'm to understand what she has become, I need at least an idea of what she was before. All I got was that she liked having friends, but I don’t even know what she thought of the ones she had. She also balked at the idea of friendship multiple times, so was it something she held very close to herself during childhood? If so, that again raises questions as to why she had the friends she did because they didn’t hesitate against ditching her, and I doubt those who value friendship would decide to just trust and hang out with anybody they come across without a second thought. The Mane 6 didn’t blindly trust all ponies they met, and they have even encountered more than a few who weren’t so nice. And that just points back to my point about what Tempest thought of her old friends as well as what the friends thought of her. Maybe she didn’t need to “symbolize” some aspect of friendship when she was young. Losing friends for whatever reason sucks, but her experience seemed too anecdotal for the same reasons I’ve already given, though I’ll expand on the single experience reasoning since I haven’t done so. If she truly was very close to them, then her conclusion can make sense. But I already said that they instead looked like shitty friends, an issue that opens another can of worms. If she wasn’t that close to her old friends, then it’s pretty hasty for her to assume that friends are unreliable even though getting abandoned would still suck (and her friends can still come off as shitty ones). Drawing the conclusions she did from this one rather vague experience seemed like a bit of a stretch (not unlike Starlight’s experience), so it would be more reasonable if she was instead leery about approaching others because if she tried making friends time and again only to be chastised for her broken horn, or maybe if anyone she came across chastised her for having a broken horn, then her line of thinking would make more sense. Though I think the real problem isn’t other ponies being unfriendly so much as it is rejection, but the latter can feed the former, so whatever. Overall, the backstory for Tempest was a good idea on paper, but it felt incomplete like I said earlier. The results of her experience looks forced and even random so the movie could get a specific idea across. There seems to be a belief among the creative team of the movie and show (and other fictional works as well) that giving a villain a tragic backstory makes them more rounded and interesting. And I won’t deny that having a backstory can appeal to me because it can reveal more about a character. But like I also keep saying, execution trumps idea. A tragic backstory is just that: a tragic backstory. For me, a character can still be interesting based on what they do and how they think, act, or feel. As in, what the character is doing now. If what I mentioned are done well, then there’s no need for backstory because it can get in the way of what is happening now. Isn’t that why the movie is mainly taking place at the time it chose? If it wanted to focus completely on the backstory, the movie should’ve been about that instead. But of course, it’s not since the Mane 6 (mostly Twilight) were to be involved. Backstory should only be used if it’s going to be important to the story and/or character, and how that goes down will determine its success, which will no doubt vary between different people. In this case, the backstory was still important to the movie as they made it the center of Tempest’s actions and motivations as well as making her something of an opposite to Twilight, so more time should have been devoted to it. Why am I mentioning all this? Tempest started as a somewhat generic villain before her song as she was menacing and no-nonsense, but that wasn’t too much of a problem by itself as it was even kind of fun for those reasons as well as her overall effectiveness (even though the other alicorn princesses were stupidly reduced to cannon fodder yet again, but it’s an unfortunate and unnecessary staple at this point). But then came her backstory in the form of a song. Hints of it were already given throughout the movie. She recoiled at the mention of “friends” in Klugetown and shortly later derided the Mane 6 for trusting strangers. Her broken horn wasn’t hard to miss, and the movie stated at least a few times that she wanted to fix it. There was even an implication of Tempest feeling insecure about her broken horn in one scene when she said that she wanted to show Equestria what she could do (I mean, why would she even be interested in something like that?), and she also wasn’t comfortable about being reminded of the injury. Well, there were 2 instances, first with Grubber after she talked with the Storm King, and one later with the guy Capper tried to sell the Mane 6 to. Not that much, and the intents from the examples hardly seemed malicious, but I’ll be generous and assume as such. So what’s the problem? This implication and the backstory didn’t help much because the movie didn’t let Tempest do much else of meaning in the present time. Again, refer to my comment about her starting as a somewhat generic villain. The backstory felt like a history lesson instead of an essential addition. The movie tried to explain her perspective and give more of an insight as to why she is doing what she is doing and who she is, but I haven’t actually learned that much about her as a “person” because the important stuff happened outside of the movie. Not helping is that she doesn't do anything of interest after her song. She hands Twilight over to the Storm King and asks him to fix her horn, to which he unsurprisingly rejects. Tempest is about to be blown away by the Storm King until Twilight saves her, and then Tempest soon returns the favor while being turned to stone in the process. But Tempest isn’t all bad, so she gets restored. The movie didn’t add any noteworthy touches to Tempest’s actions or character, so what I just recapped is pretty much all that’s there. There was no doubt that this backstory would be used because Twilight’s character arc had her give up on friendship to compare and contrast with Tempest. But not much came out of this because the movie gave a backstory that felt too incomplete, Tempest didn’t do that much during the present time, and Twilight’s descent wasn’t convincing. Thus, I'm not sure how the movie was trying to compare and contrast its two biggest players. This does come close to some kind of cleverness at least during one moment. After the villain song, Tempest tried to convince Twilight that friendship is unreliable as Twilight first ended up failing with the help of her friends, but Twilight countered that she didn’t rely on her friends enough. This sounded really nice even as an exchange as the movie showed, but the execution didn’t do this exchange justice. Clearly, having a backstory that sounds tragic doesn’t mean that you have a great character. Take a look at Princess Luna. When has that disposable backstory ever been productive for building her character? There was her season 2 episode, but that episode raised too many questions. Other than that, she had barely any presence in the show. And don’t try to convince me that her season 5 episode helped her because I rabidly disagree, and I’ve given my say on that episode. But I digress yet again. All I’m left with concerning Tempest is that she doesn’t like having friends, she wants to fix her horn, and that’s as far as I can go excluding her villainy. It’s a shame that Tempest doesn’t leave much of an impact on me because there were also plenty of interesting ideas surrounding her. At 2 points in the movie, she talks about how the alicorns are using their power. The first is right before talking to the Storm King when she says that their power is used for parties when it could be used for something bigger. This sounds like a parallel to Celestia’s line earlier when she said that the alicorns use their powers to serve Equestria. And the second is right before the Storm King takes Twilight, Tempest mocks Twilight for keeping all the power to herself when it should be shared. But what does the movie have to say about the use of great power (and possibly great responsibility)? Nothing, so why was it brought up? What also bothers me about Tempest is that even though she may have a tragic history, her motivation seems so ridiculously shallow. She was willing to enslave ALL of Equestria just for the sake of her horn? How does she even justify something like that? Talk about an overreaction. On something of a sidenote, I'd like to talk about Tempest's injury. As in, what if a unicorn lost her horn for any reason? That hardly sounds boring as unicorns almost completely rely on their horns for magic, so what’s a unicorn without a functioning horn? In Tempest’s case, she started off with little control and only able to make unstable sparks. After she gained more control, she can only make controlled sparks and blasts. She did demonstrate physical prowess to make up for the lack of magic, so I’ll give that credit. I’ll also be generous and assume she can’t levitate objects, teleport, or cast other spells as she never tried to do anything that wasn’t offensive. Sounds fine, and not all that bad as she could still wield some form of magic. But what her actual life was like with this injury is only given in snippets, which again is no substitute for actual dramatization. So it’s too bad the idea of a unicorn with a broken horn isn’t played with much. OK, now it’s finally time for the other new characters. I can’t believe I went on so long about Twilight and Tempest. With the sheer number of characters that the film had to use, someone will no doubt get the short end of the stick. Even among the main characters, Fluttershy and AJ were screwed over. As for the new characters – well – all of them sans Tempest (who even suffered a bit) got the short end of the stick due to rather limited screentime since the film would bring in Tempest to force the Mane 6 to run to a new location to meet another new character. As a result, these following new characters end up lacking presence due to only serving a basic purpose, which is to meet with the Mane 6 and be on friendly terms with them so they’ll be motivated to help the Mane 6 take back Canterlot. At least there was some fun to be had with these new characters even if they are a bit basic. First, there’s Capper. He’s a street-smart con artist with a heart of gold. His portrayal is pretty run-of-the-mill even down to the voice performance, but Taye Diggs did an admittedly good performance as well. I don’t know why, but I find it amusing that the movie teased a minor attraction between him and Rarity. He even called her a “dazzling beauty” during his song. Of course, Spike was jealous after seeing Rarity being charmed. I wonder if the show has done anything about the two since getting brought up with nothing actually happening can be annoying, but the show hasn’t made a big deal out of Spike’s crush on Rarity, so this isn’t too much of a problem. To add to the attraction between Rarity and Capper, Rarity was interestingly vocal about her disdain for him such as her reaction after finding out he intended to sell the Mane 6 and he reaction when he showed up at the beach. This is strictly head-canon, but she’d only feel so strongly about him at those times if she already felt strongly about him at an earlier point. As for Capper himself, he displayed a surprisingly wide array of emotions. When Rarity first tried to sew his jacket sleeve, he was skeptical and suspicious as he also thought she’d charge some price, probably a big price considering the kind of place he lived in. After she expressed her actions to have stemmed from gratitude, he showed guilt, uncertainty, and even regret. This makes his heart of gold aspect more genuine. And he gets to follow up on the latter emotions after being captured by Tempest and misleading her about the whereabouts of the Mane 6. Next up is the pirates, or just Captain Celaeno as she’s the only one to receive focus. There wouldn’t be enough room for her crewmates in the movie as they’re also not even named in the movie. Unfortunately, Celaeno is more basic than Capper as all she did was express disdain for serving the Storm King and enjoyed being a pirate. And I already mentioned that the pirates split from the Storm King too quickly and easily, so there’s nothing more I can add. At least there’s hints of the pirates being decent people as they brought the Mane 6 along for lunch, and they expressed no ill will toward the Mane 6, even choosing to not expose them to Tempest when she showed up, but they ultimately still don’t make much of an impression. Things get better but also messier with Skystar and Novo respectively. I’ve already talked quite a bit about both of them earlier, so I’ll try to make this short. Skystar is similar to Pinkie in terms of personality, but there is one noteworthy difference. Pinkie is all about having friends, and so is Skystar, but the latter was bored and lonely enough to make friends with sea shells. She showed understanding as she wanted the Mane 6 to stick around but ultimately and sadly accepted that they couldn’t, and she also wasn’t angry with Twilight stealing unlike Novo, which convinced Skystar to join the Mane 6. Overall, Princess Skystar fared well enough despite her limited usage. On the other hand, Queen Novo fared poorly because the movie forgot about one important element it brought up at the beginning: her relationship with Princess Celestia. After the invasion started, Celestia wanted Luna to seek help from the queen of the hippogriffs, i.e. Queen Novo. When the Mane 6 finally reached the hippogriff (or seapony) kingdom, the connection to Celestia was never brought up. And this really bothers me because all Twilight said is that Equestria is in danger instead of saying that Princesss Celestia needed Novo’s help. Scratch that, Twilight never said the word “Equestria” during her stay underwater, and Novo never referred to the main characters as ponies, so there’s no indication that Novo was even aware of who exactly the Mane 6 were or where they came from. As in, the Mane 6 could be complete strangers, and the underwater scenes could still play out the exact same way. But the only reason the Mane 6 went underwater was because they wanted to fulfill Celestia’s goal. But no, Queen Novo did know about Equestria as she flew over there to get Skystar, and the credits showed her and Celestia talking to each other. So, Novo was aware of ponies and Equestria? Why didn’t she help then? That makes for a pretty lousy ally. Novo’s position doesn’t make sense and even seems contradictory because the movie never explains her relationship with Celestia or Equestria. As a result, Queen Novo looked unhelpful and useless, not unlike Princess Celestia. The writers of MLP really don’t know how to make use of royals of the highest position. The worst part is that the stuff with Queen Novo had no reason to play out the way it did because one of the Mane 6 should’ve mentioned that Celestia sought help from them, and then there’s no doubt that the movie would’ve been pretty different from that point on. Also, I have to wonder if Celestia were aware of the fate of the hippogriffs. If she was, I don’t know why she didn’t call them seaponies or – well – a term that isn’t “hippogriff” as that’s not what they were anymore. I guess the Mane 6 had to be thrown off track for a while by looking for hippos. Actually, I’m not even sure what the point of the confusion was as Twilight found out not long after what they were supposed to look for. There was a Queen of Hippos at the end credits for gags, but that’s it. If Celestia wasn’t aware of their fate, then I have to wonder what their relationship with each other is like since having a good relationship means that there’s some awareness of what’s going on with each other. And why did Celestia think that the hippogriffs had an answer to the Storm King? The quest ended up being pointless and unnecessary since the final confrontation didn’t require anything from the hippogriff except for exactly 1 hippogriff. Actually, all the Mane 6 needed was just a few more people to combat the Storm King’s minions, who went down rather easily (one fell to a round of friggin’ cupcakes). And if they went down that easily, then they didn’t more need people, which adds to the pointlessness of the quest outside of Equestria. In fact, that just means the hippogriffs and the other ponies at Canterlot also wouldn’t have struggled too much in the fight. Granted, the Mane 6 were in a state of panic and confusion right after leaving Equestria, and the minions resisted Twilight’s magic, but that still doesn’t compensate for the minions’ poor showing toward the end. Not helping is that they were supposed to be pretty tough and intimidating for the main characters. I mean, action cartoons generally have huge armies of minions going down easily to the heroes, but they aren’t this underwhelming (again, cupcakes). This just means that the movie was rather poorly put together since beating the Storm King and his minions was one of its main goals. And I’m also tired of seeing the villains in these stories lose in such an anticlimactic fashion, but that’s MLP for you. The movie could’ve brought the hippogriff army along after making them find out that running away and hiding wasn’t actually solving anything. With that, now there’s a bigger team against Storm King (maybe the pirates could also bring in other pirates), and Queen Novo wouldn’t have to look so useless. Though that still wouldn’t make up for the other alicorns being useless, so this movie needed a bigger overhaul than I imagined. I haven’t talked about the Storm King or Grubber yet, but there isn’t much to say about both. Grubber is comic relief, but he didn’t leave much of an impression on me. He pretty much disappeared from the movie after finding the good guys hiding in a cake, so I wonder what happened to him. As for Storm King, his snark and hamminess along with his more threatening side can make for some entertainment, but he didn’t have an impressive showing due to being in the background until the final act. In fact, his lack of presence makes him feel superfluous since Tempest had a much larger role and was already opposing the main characters, not to mention that Tempest’s philosophy was already there to clash with the power of friendship (which barely happened). His invasion of Mount Aris was supposed to be a display of his power, but he lost credibility when he showed up clueless during his first conversation with Tempest, and he (and his minions) lost more credibility when it turned out that it didn’t take too much to deal with them. The Mane 6 could’ve tried to sneak up on their enemies for some advantage, but too bad Grubber discovered them in the cake. Another strike against his credibility is that he didn’t do anything particularly impressive with his completed staff outside of blasting magic and moving the sun. There was even one scene where he tried to blast Tempest, and she shot back with a blast that seemed to be equal in power to the one that Storm King fired. Y’know, the staff that had the power of 4 alicorns. This could be chalked up to the Storm King not actually knowing how to use pony magic, but that just deducts whatever credibility is left. Overall, I can imagine these guys being more fun, but only in a movie that actually had room for them as this one was already jam-packed with characters. I’ll admit that I’m no good at critiquing songs, but the only one that stood out to me was Rainbow Dash’s “Time to Be Awesome due to being very upbeat and catchy. There was Tempest’s villain song, which was big, flashy, sounded echo-y, and felt all-consuming like a usual villain song (at least from an animated movie), and it also looked good here, but I already gave my thoughts on it when talking about Tempest. Otherwise, the rest of the songs were just there. They sounded good at least, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to them. I feel like I should talk about the story of the movie, but I won’t mainly because this ramble is getting too long, and I have other things about the movie I want to ramble about. But my comments about the story can already be found with my comments about the characters. Why did I judge the characters? There should be a reason for me to follow these people when watching the movie. The action and results of their action comes from them, which drives the story and keeps the movie going. I’ll end this ramble with some nitpicks and/or random thoughts. At the beginning of the movie, Twilight is nervous about having to ask the other princesses for favors because they’re the “most royal princesses of Equestria”, and she’s afraid of being turned down. It’s another stupid and worthless attempt to make Twilight look modest and/or less impressive than the other princesses not unlike what “Twilight’s Kingdom” previously tried; those other princesses will contribute absolutely nothing while Twilight does everything for them, and this instead emphasizes the glorification these kinds of stories place on Twilight especially over others, and very especially the other princesses (and their uselessness is also further emphasized as well). At this point, Twilight has accomplished more in the show than the other princesses combined. So even though this was a just a moment from the movie, it’s still one that I hated. What’s also weird is that the other princesses turn down Twilight’s light show suggestion because they don’t feel that sort of touch is necessary to the friendship festival. What? Did they think Twilight was asking for trouble? Did Twilight’s suggestion require strenuous effort from each of them? I also thought that Twilight was in charge of the festival, and if she thinks that could help the event, I don’t know why they’d reject. Did they really have something better to do while the festival was going on? Celestia did say that Twilight has everything she needed, but my question about the effort required still stands as this only looked like a minor favor. This is just a sloppy attempt at foreshadowing the solution to the conflict that will later come up, which is that Twilight always had something inside to deal with a problem. Where was Discord? Wasn’t he an official friend to the Mane 6 by now? Good thing he was conveniently away as he would’ve been able to deal with Tempest on the spot. Or maybe he would’ve been too overconfident and become stone from the Storm King’s bombs. He can’t be allowed to solve the problem, so he would’ve been hit the same way the other alicorns were if he showed up. Shining Armor was also conspicuously missing since he’s Cadance’s husband and Twilight’s brother. I sometimes wonder if the crew of MLP even remember he existed. Likewise, he and his guards wouldn’t have been much help since there wouldn’t be an adventure for the Mane 6 if the guards did their jobs successfully. Ponies were also enslaved in the movie, and it felt like the movie didn’t really give a crap that this happened since everything went back to normal almost as if nothing happened after the Storm King was beaten. Songbird Serenade is said to be very popular. Luna thinks that Songbird Serenade might appeal more to the participants of the festivals than the actual royals. I’m not against the idea, but this is the first time Songbird has ever been mentioned. I suppose it’s another way to make the movie stand alone. Luna mentioned that there are hundreds of other ponies against a single Tempest (plus Storm King’s minions, but I guess Luna didn’t feel like counting them). It seems that almost all ponies aren’t the combative type. Princess Celestia even immediately gave up when Tempest started attacking. Too bad they didn’t know that the minions weren’t all that threatening. Tempest petrified a Luna that was in the air. Good thing Luna didn’t shatter because I have to wonder what Tempest would’ve done next if that happened because her plan for the Storm King specifically required 4 alicorns. There was even a marking on the floor with 4 points so the staff could placed at the center and drain them of their magic. In fact, why does this area even exist? What purpose was it supposed to serve? I doubt any of the royals wanted to make a room with the sole purpose of stealing magic. Even requiring that many alicorns seemed so arbitrary and convenient because Celestia would have been the only alicorn princess when Tempest was young. Cadance was already an alicorn, so I guess there’s two. So it’s also a good thing Equestria happened to have the correct number of alicorns when Tempest decided to return. Twilight’s desperation and hopelessness in the movie also seemed weird when has witnessed Equestria coming close to oblivion multiple times. And remember that Twilight saw multiple apocalypses during “The Cutie Re-Mark” alone, so she’s been through worse. I suppose coming close to an apocalypse multiple times doesn’t make the next potential one any easier to stomach. Huh, maybe there could be a story about Twilight (or anyone, really) getting weary about this. I don’t think that idea would’ve looked out of place in the movie. Twilight’s reason for saving Tempest was because that’s what a friend would do. That’s not a bad reason by itself, but I don’t know why Twilight would consider Tempest a friend when they weren’t exactly friends at that point. Why not just have her say it was the right thing to do, or it’s better to help others than to let them suffer? Those would’ve been enough to show that there are ponies who are trustworthy. I wonder if Twilight could’ve teleported out of her cage. Similarly, when the Mane 6 were trying to get the staff, I wonder why Rarity didn’t use her magic to take the staff. Starlight made a cameo in the movie, and it's too bad she didn't get to come along, not that there would be room for her. I wonder what she did during the invasion. Like I said at the beginning, I don’t really care for this movie. It isn’t horrible, but that’s the best thing I can say about it, and when was that kind of statement ever a compliment? I did watch the movie a second time to see how it would hold up, and I enjoyed it a bit better. Most notably, I didn’t care much for the new good guys when I first saw the movie, and I enjoyed them a bit more during the second round, but my feelings about the movie as a whole hasn’t changed. It’s full of the same shit that makes the show’s 2-part episodes so distasteful, i.e. useless “powerful” alicorns being removed somehow mainly to set up the villain (and thus not actually helping the villain since they just triumphed over a trio of losers), the villain being underwhelming in one way or another (Storm King lacking presence and being another with an anti-climactic defeat, Tempest for having a backstory that ends up not doing much for her), and the spotlight on Twilight who I’m pretty damn sick of because the show likes to glorify her in these kinds of stories. Yeah, Twilight still had to struggle in the movie, but quality of the execution aside, she still got to handle her problems, so that just means she’s capable of getting through obstacles that are thrown in her path. Again, that’s still more than what the other alicorns have done, so I don’t know why the movie (and the show even as of “Horse Play”) would still say that Twilight isn’t that much of a royal even though she has done far more than her competitors. That just makes the glorification even more blatant, and the intention to show that Twilight is a capable pony becomes insincere. Making Twilight the main character is one thing, but glorifying her at the expense of other characters (not to mention characters that I want to see actually demonstrating their usefulness but get barely any screentime as it is) has always been a stupid move.
  10. Number95

    Season 8, Episode 7: Horse Play

    How @Metemponychosis and @Thrond felt about this episode, and how I wanted to feel about this episode. But that's impossible on my part since this show fucked up too much for a patch like this to cover. So I felt this way instead after watching. Too bad the scenes between Princess Celestia and Twilight didn't carry as much meaning and emotion as they should have, but I suppose they're not bad by themselves.
  11. Number95

    Season 8, Episodes 1 & 2: School Daze

    That kind of stuff only matters if the episode needs it to. I also wonder if she put up job postings or got any applications.
  12. Number95

    Season 8, Episode 7: Horse Play

    I have yet to see the episode, so I still might end up liking the final product.
  13. Number95

    Season 8, Episode 7: Horse Play

    I'm not saying she can't fail. It's just that after 7 seasons of doing too many things wrong and doing too few things right, the show should try to focus on the latter.
  14. Number95

    Season 8, Episode 7: Horse Play

    I was hoping the episode would leave that kind of bullshit behind because there is too much of it, and I wanted to see if the show can tell a story with Celestia that doesn't resort to that pitfall, but the execution is what matters most. I'll have to (eventually) watch the episode to see if I feel the same way you do.
  15. Number95

    Season 8, Episode 7: Horse Play

    @Thrond@Metemponychosis From your comments, it sounds like this episode didn't force Princess Celestia to be a And it only took 8 years and 8 seasons. I wonder why it took so long.